Monday Recruitin' Moves On

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Life After Hand

It goes on, believe it or not. Michigan responded to missing out on Da'Shawn Hand by immediately offering Berrian Springs (MI) DE Jhonny Williams, a Missouri commit since September, and judging by his comments to Brandon he's taking his new opportunity very seriously:

Williams wasn’t shy about being excited to hear from Michigan for the first time just recently when we first spoke. After receiving his offer, Jhonny texted me last night with a very respectful message as he sorts through his options.

"I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you."

He didn’t hide the fact that he’s juggling some thoughts now that Michigan has offered and I expect the Wolverines to get some consideration.

Williams is a three-star, #42 strongside DE, and #15 prospect in the state according to the 247 Composite; while the rankings are middling, interest in him has picked up of late, as Notre Dame offered him last week. He looks impressive, albeit against relatively low-level competition, in his senior highlights on Hudl.

Shooting Down ALL THE RUMORS

Lose out on a top prospect in the midst of a very ugly stretch for the football team and now even the most outwardly faithful commits have to deny rumors of jumping ship. Rivals posted clickbait so obviously clickbait that I refuse to link it in which they suggest that Jabrill Peppers could join Hand at Alabama despite acknowledging in the very same article that Peppers hasn't spoken with the Tide in months. It even features speculation by a certain national analyst with the quote "I have nothing to back that up."

Meanwhile, Scout's Brian Dohn actually talked to Jabrill Peppers—a novel concept—and Peppers shot down the notion that he's looking around at all ($):

“I’m going to try to go out there for the game against that down south team,” Peppers said. “Everybody is worried about all of the recruits because of the losses, but that is why it’s called rebuilding. We have a new coach (Brady Hoke). He’s bringing in the talent.

I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to make sure we bring Michigan back to the Michigan we knew before.

Not only is Peppers remaining a part of the class, he's planning to head to Ann Arbor for The Game. He's even giving quotes to the Daily about his future role on the team:

“I love (playing both ways),” Peppers said. “I love being able to have as many big-impact plays on the game as I possibly can. I definitely would love doing that, but first I want make sure that I’m fully committed and understand the defense and what coach Mattison is trying to do before they start moving me around to the offensive side of the ball.

“I’m all for it and want to do it and try to make as many plays as I possibly can.”

Decommitment pending, I'm sure.

As for Mason Cole and George Campbell, Sam Webb caught up with them after their regular season finale a week ago; they seem solid, as well ($):

Before departing the field both future Wolverines posed for photos that demonstrated their Maize & Blue pride in the form of Michigan caps and ‘M’ gestures with their hands.   Upon putting on his hat, Campbell offered up an emphatic ‘Go Blue!’  When asked if that meant his commitment is solid, he didn’t hesitate.

“Yes,” he responded. “I am not listening to the calls (from other schools).”

Another "Go Blue", this time in tandem with Cole, hammered that point home.

Various tweets from other commits over the past couple weeks have driven this point home—the 2014 class is remaining firm in their commitments, at least for the time being, and there's nothing but pure speculation to suggest otherwise.

[Hit THE JUMP for a roundup of commit performances from last weekend.]

Still Alive

Let's start with the commits that moved on in their respective playoff brackets. I'll give you zero guesses as to who rushed for six touchdowns. Yes, you still somehow got it:

Damien Harris had a monster game for the Eagles, blitzing the Black Bears defense for 354 yards and six touchdowns.

Thanks to that performance, Madison Southern moved on to the Kentucky Class 5A quarterfinals for the first time in school history, avenging last year's playoff defeat against Harlan County for good measure. Harris had touchdown runs of 38, 25, 42, 70, 32, and 58 yards, which... I be like dang. While he's put up monster numbers against poor competition for much of his career, that wasn't quite the case this time around:

I be like dang.

Paramus Catholic scored five touchdowns in five different ways in the first six minutes(!) of their playoff opener against Notre Dame en route to a 55-14 victory. Peppers had two of those early scores, taking a sweep in from nine yards out on their opening offensive play (set up by a fumble recovery), then returning a punt 50 yards for a touchdown to put the Paladins up 34-0; at that point, they'd run precisely two offensive plays. Mercifully, the starters sat out for most of the contest after that.

Shaun Crawford rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown and was part of a St. Edward pass defense that allowed just one first-half completion in a 42-7 thumping of Cleveland Heights to help them move on to the regional semifinals.

Undefeated East Lake received a much tougher test than expected from a 5-5 Palmetto squad, eking out a 13-12 victory in the first round of the playoffs; George Campbell had one carry for ten yards and caught five passes for 86, including a 50-yard gain.

Tyree Kinnel had a critical 41-yard kickoff return to set up a four-play scoring drive for Huber Heights Wayne, extending a seven-point lead to 14; the Warriors didn't look back, defeating Dublin Coffman 31-10 in the second round of the state playoffs.

Top-seeded Kenton (Noah Furbush) routed Triway 46-6 to move on to the regional final.

In non-playoff action, Eastern Christian Academy (Freddy Canteen, Brandon Watson) defeated Calvert Hall 48-19; stats from the game aren't available at this time.

Season's Over

Moe Ways and Detroit Country Day had their season end in brutal fashion, as this play with just 45 seconds to go was ruled a catch for the go-ahead, ultimately game-winning touchdown for Marine City:

That... is not a catch. Ways hauled in a 48-yard touchdown in the second quarter and otherwise had a quiet night in the 33-28 heartbreaker.

Wilton Speight's senior season also ended on an ugly note; while he threw three touchdown passes, he also tossed five interceptions in a 31-19 loss to Liberty Christian in the VISAA Division I title game.

Etc.

The M Block breaks down film of ECA's game against St. Edward from a couple weeks ago. The whole thing is recommended reading; here's a sample:

[Brandon] Watson was a thorn in St. Edwards' side all game, shadowing receivers with blanket coverage and providing excellent support in the running game.  While he is giving up some size at 6'0" and 185 lbs according to 247, Watson makes up for it with his tight coverage and sound technique when defending passes.  This was evident on several occasions as Watson broke up at least 5 different St. Edwards passes on the day and allowed only a handful of catches no matter who he was matched up with.  Watson has a great back pedal and was pleasantly surprising with good footwork and quick acceleration in coverage.

Freddy Canteen also impressed on both sides of the ball.

Brandon caught up with 2015 ATH Anthony Rush, who said he has "a lot of interest" in Michigan.

Comments

Ace

November 18th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

The two Glenville prospects (Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith) keep mentioning Michigan; they're presumed Buckeye locks and definitely longshots but the Wolverines are at least in the mix. CO RB Kalen Ballage is still a possibility; the coaches have been contacting him more as of late. OK S Steven Parker keeps mentioning a potential trip to Ann Arbor, though we'll see if that materializes.

Other than the prospects mentioned above (and the three you mentioned), any additions to the class are likely to come from more late offers at this point.

Ron Utah

November 18th, 2013 at 3:06 PM ^

Moe Ways and DCD got robbed.  That ball is not secure until the kid is way out of bounds.  Terrible call, and one that the SJ should have been able to make.

WolvinLA2

November 18th, 2013 at 4:55 PM ^

LJ shouldn't be 15 yards away in that situation. He needs to read pass and head down field like now. I'm not saying he needs to beat the receiver to the endzone, but he should have his eyes on the play and heading there on the hop. From that angle he should be able to make that call.

France719

November 19th, 2013 at 7:40 AM ^

He held for second and had released because he read pass.  He is only supposed to be 5-10 yards downfield until the pass is away, and he was about 5-6.   Perhaps he could have gained a few more yards if he had sprinted after the ball was away, but he still would have been at least 10 yards away.  Still a hard call, but again I agree that the refs missed one.  A 6 or 7 man crew would have had a guy right on top of the play though.

MgoRayO3313

November 19th, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

Mechanics were as good as you could ask. IMHO the issue with Michigan HS officiating is that many officials are simply too old. I try to be nice when I say this because I understand all too well that we are struggling to find younger, more athletic officials. However, it is ridiculous when you run a no huddle, hurry up offense and overweight, out of shape, and older officials refuse to do their job and spot the ball in a timely manner.

It's frustrating when you hit a big play and then try to hurry and have to wait 15-25 seconds for the official to spot the ball after it was handed to them by a player. I find as an OC you almost have to go to a hurry up your first drive in order to get the officials to understand the pace at which you are looking to go.

As a state I feel we have done a terrible job of teaching officials how to play to these new schemes and tempos. Yes, this is clearly a rant but if you attend games of teams that look to go uptempo you will quickly see what I mean.

WolvinLA2

November 18th, 2013 at 4:24 PM ^

Agreed. Also, some of those could be attributed to the WRs (bad route, tipped ball), but a lot of it might just have to do with the fact that his team was down and he needed to force throws (and the D knew he was throwing).

LB

November 18th, 2013 at 5:13 PM ^

an interception? I thought he was supposed to be good. We need to fire him right after we fire Borges, everyone who has ever stopped by his office to chat, and the janitor.

 

DavidP814

November 18th, 2013 at 3:38 PM ^

I saw East Lake play in person last week.  My thoughts were...

George Campbell: Stands out from a size and speed perspective. Noticeably faster in straight-line speed than Artavis Scott, although Scott looks like the smoother athlete and more natural pass-catcher at this point.  Campbell comes in as a pass-rush DE on 3rd and long, and has the strength to hold up against high school OTs.  All the 3rd down plays were run to the opposite side, so he didn't make a huge impact on defense.  

George Campbell YMRMFSFPA:  Jevon Kearse.  He's the only other guy I can remember seeing on a high school football field that was noticeably larger/faster than anyone else on the field.  Kearse had a larger frame and was a bit more explosive/quicker in the first step, but that's comparing Campbell as a junior to a senior Jevon Kearse, so Campbell could add that explosion as he adds strength.

Mason Cole:  I don't know nearly enough football to analyze an Offensive Lineman's play, but I will say he was the biggest guy on the field, and seemed to move well and get downfield on a few of East Lake's longer runs.

Ace

November 18th, 2013 at 3:55 PM ^

Given that they were one of my most time-consuming posts—those take forever—and the 247 Composite basically rendered them entirely redundant, we decided before the season that they weren't worth putting together, at least not on a weekly basis. When the football/basketball overlap ends I might throw something together, and I'll definitely do a signing day update.

PB-J Time

November 18th, 2013 at 3:53 PM ^

ECA (Canteen & Watson's school) must have quite a program. Calvert Hall is an old money private school in Baltimore that can recruit a nice team. Perhaps not a powerhouse, but a thumping like that is impressive. I would not be suprised at all if these guys are able to produce right away.

aplatypus

November 18th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

he was planning to come back for his senior year to play in Ohio. 

He's on like a semi-pro team in Denmark now, but took a string of visits a little bit ago that should have shaped his final 3. He can't be back for a while so if he doesn't decide in the next few weeks he'd probably wait until next year.

aiglick

November 18th, 2013 at 4:43 PM ^

Happy to hear the '14 class seems pretty solid in their commitments. I think the next couple of games are still going to be important though especially when it comes to the '15 class. As we've seen in basketball there is definitely a lag between on field performance and recruit interest.

Have to take it to Iowa. Then we will have an opportunity in a game nobody expects us to win to... wait for it... shock the world.

WolvinLA2

November 18th, 2013 at 4:52 PM ^

I think Michigan has done a good job of pushing the benefits of the program/school outside of winning, so the kids we get aren't as turned off by a few losses. This causes us to miss on some of the prospects who want the "win right now" situations, but it also means our guys are more solid when things don't go perfectly.

oriental andrew

November 18th, 2013 at 6:11 PM ^

that Jabrill Peppers is getting in some practice beating up on teams named "notre dame" even in high school.  Too bad he'll only have one more win over notre dame, next season in South Bend.  

And is this kid ready to don the winged helmets or what?

"There’s nothing like putting up 41 points in the first quarter," Peppers said. "That’s tremendous no matter who you’re playing."

Go Blue in MN

November 18th, 2013 at 6:24 PM ^

that our commits appear solid despite rumors to the contrary.  In particular, it was great to hear Peppers directly shoot down the Rivals BS rumor.  I was worried when the only denial out there was a half-hearted statement by his coach.  I'm worried no longer!

WolvinLA2

November 18th, 2013 at 6:31 PM ^

We're getting to the point in the year where decommitments are less likely, outside of a total collapse from a team or a coach getting fired.  If a 2014 wants to take an official to a school to see a game, it needs to be within the next two weekends, and even that depends on the school's schedule.  Not only that, the EE kids have already signed their scholarship papers and are as good as locked in.  

I'm not saying a decommitment is impossible by any means, but it's less likely the later it gets.  

Sideline

November 18th, 2013 at 6:34 PM ^

2014 might be the year we all expected this year... We just moved it up when Lewan stated he was coming back.

Offensive staff still needs to address something. I would even accept Borges saying he didn't out scheme because he was over-confident in Lewan and too stubborn to adjust. I want to see 2014 before I even give up entirely on this staff.